Connect with us

Sports

2023 Miami Hurricanes Football – Season Predictions

Published

on

It’s year two of the Mario Cristobal era for the Miami Hurricanes Football program. The Hurricanes are set to kick off their season tonight against the Miami of Ohio Redhawks and are looking to showcase improvement from a 5-7 season during their 2022 campaign, in 2023. We have all made our decisions and locked in our predictions for how the Canes could fare on the field this year. Maybe there was some Kool-Aid drinking and potentially some warranted pessimism, but with that said, here it is.

Andrew: 8-4

I’ve gone back and forth between 8-4 and 9-3 for some time but decided to stick with 8-4 and hope the Canes can prove me wrong, unlike previous years. This should be the best offensive line Miami has had in years, and I believe that will make the entire offense run smoother and more confidently. The interior O-line of Javion Cohen, Matt Lee, and Anez Cooper could be the best in the conference, and all signs point to freshman Francis Mauigoa living up to the hype at tackle. Dawson’s system seems tailor-made for Tyler Van Dyke, who I see returning back to a form similar to his 2021 season. The RB, TE, and WR rooms are all very deep and talented with great versatility.

Defensively, Miami has more speed and size than they’ve had in quite some time. The LB room, led by Francisco Mauigoa and Wesley Bissainthe, is much bigger than last season and has the ability to run sideline to sideline. The secondary, led by All-American Kam Kinchens, is experienced and talented, with a mix of veteran transfers and guys that have developed within the program. Miami has no shortage of pass rushers off the edge, and if the interior defensive line, with potential first-round pick Leonard Taylor as well as transfer Branson Deen and freshman Rueben Bain, can hold up against the run, Miami’s defense could be very stout.

The biggest question mark for Miami will be their ability to stay healthy, especially along the offensive line. After the top 7 or 8 guys, there’s a significant drop-off to some high-ceiling younger players that don’t seem ready yet. If Miami can stay relatively healthy this season, an 8 or 9-win season seems very likely.

Most Valuable Player: QB Tyler Van Dyke
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Jacolby George
Defensive Player of the Year: S Kamren Kinchens
Offensive Freshman of the Year: OL Francis Mauigoa
Defensive Freshman of the Year: CB Damari Brown
Transfer of the Year: LB Francisco Mauigoa

Geo: 9-3

My optimism for Miami’s football season in 2023 is well-founded, considering the significant improvements made by Head Coach Mario Cristobal. Notably, Cristobal targeted the offensive line, a pivotal factor for success on any football team. In the 2023 class, Miami secured two highly-touted offensive linemen, Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola, both consensus five-star recruits. Mauigoa has already claimed the starting right tackle position, and reports from close sources suggest he possesses exceptional athleticism, a rare find in a freshman. Okunlola is quickly knocking on the door for playing time and serves as valuable insurance on the offensive line as a second-stringer.

Cristobal’s aggressive approach didn’t stop there. He ventured into the transfer portal, capturing two substantial talents for the offensive line. Javion Cohen, a transfer from Alabama, is arguably one of the best returning offensive guards in college football. Additionally, Miami secured Matt Lee from in-state rival UCF, and Pro Football Focus rates him as the best returning center in the nation. The reason I emphasize the offensive line so much is because it’s fundamental to offensive success, from the high school level to the NFL.

When you combine these new additions with returning veterans like Jalen Rivers and Anez Cooper, along with the potential return of Zion Nelson from a knee injury, there’s ample reason for optimism regarding Miami’s success. The improved offensive line is expected to enhance both the passing and running game significantly.

Tyler Van Dyke, the quarterback, and new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson seem like a perfect match. Their chemistry is evident, and the offensive scheme plays to Van Dyke’s strengths, featuring up-tempo plays and air-raid concepts that catch defenses off-guard. I anticipate a rebound season for TVD, reminiscent of his performance in 2021. Interestingly, I haven’t even named him the team’s MVP in my predictions. That’s how important I believe this revamped offensive line, anchored by Matt Lee, is to Tyler’s expected resurgence.

The running game should also thrive behind this upgraded offensive line. In addition to the returning starter, Henry Parrish Jr., the addition of Ajay Allen, a transfer running back, and Mark Fletcher Jr. has injected new life into the backfield. Allen brings juice with speed and agility, while Fletcher Jr. combines power, patience, and deceptive speed on his imposing frame. According to sources close to the football program, these two could be “something special.”

As if the upgraded offensive line wasn’t enough, Miami has added eighth year tight end transfer Cam McCormick, a blocking technician. He’ll provide an extra boost in red zone and short-yardage situations with his physical prowess. Returning tight end Elijah Arroyo is poised to continue the tradition of prolific Miami tight ends, especially as a receiving threat.

The wide receiver room faced criticism during the 2022 season, but Miami tackled this issue head-on through the transfer portal. Junior Jacolby George possesses the most potential among the receivers to become Miami’s defacto x-factor on the outside after putting together the best offseason since his arrival, while Xavier Restrepo is expected to be the reliable chains-mover. Colbie Young stands tall at 6-foot-5 and has reshaped his physique during the offseason, positioning himself to make an even more significant impact in 2023. Tyler Harrell adds electric speed, Brashard Smith excels in the screen game, and Miami has a young freshman, Nathaniel “Ray Ray” Joseph Jr., who has shown the potential to shake up the room as a big-play threat.

On the defensive side, Miami has brought in impact transfers such as Branson Deen on the defensive line, along with Francisco Mauigoa and KJ Cloyd at linebacker. They’ve also welcomed Jaden Davis, Davonte Brown, and Jadais Richard in the defensive backfield. In addition to these transfers, Miami has introduced promising freshmen, including defensive lineman Rueben Bain Jr., who recorded almost 60 sacks in his final two seasons at Miami Central High School (FL) and impressed with three-sack performances in both the spring game in April and the CanesFest scrimmage in August. Furthermore, there’s the younger brother of Davonte Brown, freshman cornerback Damari Brown, who could potentially start in game one.

Miami’s defense boasts returning stalwarts such as Nyjalik Kelly, Akheem Mesidor and Leonard Taylor III on the defensive line. Taylor is projected as a first-round NFL draft pick. In the linebacker corps, Wesley Bissainthe brings sideline-to-sideline speed and a more formidable physique. Miami is fortunate to have an All-American safety in Kamren Kinchens, and another potential All-American safety, according to Kinchens himself, in James Williams, who is poised to play a swiss-army-knife role across the defense in new defensive coordinator Lance Guidry’s system.

So, why am I feeling optimistic? It starts in the trenches, where both the offensive and defensive lines are positions of strength for Miami this season. Barring significant injuries on both sides of the ball, it’s difficult to imagine anything less than substantial improvement from the 2022 season for the Hurricanes in 2023. Mario Cristobal has corrected his mistakes from the previous year, aligning his coordinators with the team’s strengths and blending a mix of physicality with speed and explosiveness.

Mario Cristobal-led teams have a track record of taking significant strides in year two. While I’m not predicting a national championship, I do anticipate a much more competitive team that won’t get blown out. There may be some bumps along the way, given the team’s relative youth in certain positions, but the payoff is a promising future. My prediction is a 9-3 season, with losses to Clemson, Louisville, and potentially underestimating Boston College.

Building a college football program back to prominence isn’t a quick process, but Miami fans should see a season that paints, “Hey, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Most Valuable Player: OL Matt Lee
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Jacolby George
Defensive Player of the Year: S Kamren Kinchens
Offensive Freshman of the Year: OL Francis Mauigoa
Defensive Freshman of the Year: DL Rueben Bain Jr.
Transfer of the Year: DL Branson Deen

Luke: 7-5

While Miami added talent at nearly every position this past offseason, I am still cautious about the Hurricanes ahead of their 2023 season.

On paper, the offensive line should be much better than it was last year. Transfers Matt Lee and Javion Cohen are expected to lead the unit, and consensus-rated five-star freshman Francis Mauigoa will also likely play a large role as a first-year player.

There’s also a high likelihood that quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has a bounce-back year after an injury-plagued and inconsistent 2022 season. Van Dyke is now coached by an offensive coordinator in Shannon Dawson who runs an offense that fits the quarterback’s style of play. He also has a bolstered unit of running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to work with.

Miami’s defensive line should once again be the highlight of a defense that ranked ninth nationally in 2022 in sacks per game against FBS opponents. If this unit, which features many returnees, can continue this high level of play, and if the offense provides more spark than it did last season, the Hurricanes should have a better second year than the first year in the Mario Cristobal era.

Most Valuable Player: QB Tyler Van Dyke
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Jacolby George
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Nyjalik Kelly
Offensive Freshman of the Year: OL Francis Mauigoa
Defensive Freshman of the Year: CB Damari Brown
Transfer of the Year: OL Matt Lee

Rollo: 10-2

I predict that the team will have a successful regular season with a record of 10-2. Initially, I had predicted a record of 9-3, but I changed my prediction because I cannot pick FSU to beat Miami in Tally. The Canes will be 6-0 going into Clemson, and I believe that Miami will play Clemson much closer this year than in years past and lose by less than two touchdowns. I expect Miami to go into FSU and get revenge from last year with a transformed offensive line and a system that maximizes Tyler Van Dyke’s talents.

I am confident in the Canes because they have talent and depth in the defensive line with players like Taylor and Deen, and Harrison-Hunte is a good depth piece. The LB corps is also expected to be much improved, with Francisco Mauigoa being a significant upgrade over Flagg. On the offensive side of the ball, Mark Fletcher, the true freshman from the 2023 class, is already competing for first-team reps. Colbie Young and Jacolby George are expected to have big years, and Ray Ray Joseph is a talented player who is putting in extra hours every practice on the jug machine. Additionally, Miami will show focus and be prepared for every team, and Tyler Van Dyke will play like he did two years ago as one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC in a system that is suited to his strengths. All of this, of course, depends on the team’s health, and Miami can win 10 games without any major injuries. I am officially drinking the Kool-Aid, expect Miami to have a huge bounce-back year in 2023.

Most Valuable Player: QB Tyler Van Dyke
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Colbie Young
Defensive Player of the Year: DL Leonard Taylor III
Offensive Freshman of the Year: OL Francis Mauigoa
Defensive Freshman of the Year: DL Rueben Bain Jr.
Transfer of the Year: OL Matt Lee

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © COPYRIGHT 2024 LIFEWALLET NETWORK